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brown paper packages: August 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

{dry-erase chore chart}

Okay, so, you remember that super cute burlap chore chart from a few weeks ago? Well, there was one thing I didn't count on. One darling, but very curious 12 month old (who shall remain nameless) was able to reach much higher than I had anticipated, and that chore chart is no more.

With school starting next week, we cannot be without one, so, when a friend showed me this chore chart, by Jenifer at Moss Moments, I knew I had to try it.

Can I tell you how much I love it? Love, love, love it! Your chart fits inside the frame, and then you can use dry-erase markers to either check or cross off list items as they're completed. At the end of the day, just wipe a paper towel across the glass, and voila, you're ready to start fresh again.

The beauty is, you can make it as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. You can print off the list on regular white card stock, pop it in the frame, and be done. Or, you can fancy it up as much as you desire. You know me, I can't do anything without distress ink, so I opted for a slightly fancier version.

Dry-Erase Chore Chart

  • frame w/glass intact--either 8x10, or 11x14 with mat
  • chore list
  • scrapbook paper
  • white or cream cardstock
  • distress ink
  • any desired embellishment

1. I painted my frame cream, with Rustoleum's Heirloom White. I had already had this frame, and it happened to be an 8x10, so that's what I used. You could certainly use an 11x14, and use a mat if you wished. You could go bigger--up to a 16x20, and cut your paper to fit, but you would need to use ribbon or something to cover the overlap.

2. Print your chore chart on the cardstock. (Too Much Paper! font) With three children, landscape view worked the best for me. I would suggest printing them out on regular paper first, to make sure that the sizing is correct. Then cut out each list, and distress the edges.

3. Cut your scrapbook paper to fit your frame opening. I started with a piece of 12x12 paper.

3. Apply the lists on your scrapbook paper, using double stick tape. I added the names at the top, the quote at the bottom, and the little birdie for that little extra something.

4. Place your paper in the frame, and ta-da! You have a fantastic dry-erase chore chart!


{creative chick parade}


Mark your calendars now! This is going to be a super fun event--
a blog hop hosted by some really fabulous bloggers.

During Parade week we will all be hosting themed link parties, as you can see from the graphic above. There will be a master list each day, so whether you link up here, or at the other participating blogs, it will appear on one list.

Here are the participating blogs:

Brown Paper Packages
Fingerprints on the Fridge
The Girl Creative
Dilly Dally and Flitter
Beat Until Fluffy
Dear Madelyn
Moody Girl Projects
Lucky Star Lane
Sew Much Ado
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
The Blog Guide Book
The Trendy Treehouse


So, grab a button, and spread the word! We'll see you here!

brown paper packages


Friday, August 27, 2010

{a blogging how-to}

When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I didn't know anything about html. Well, I've learned a lot. Thanks to google, and a bunch of smart bloggers that share those smarts, there are tutorials out there for just about everything you need to know.

My most recent google search was on numbering blog comments. After counting and re-counting comments during giveaways, this feature sounded especially appealing. Plus it's cute!

So, I thought I would share the super, user-friendly tutorial that walked me through it. Thanks to Susie, over at 1st Floor Flat, The Computery, you can do it, too!

Click HERE, for the step-by-step tutorial.

P.S. If you follow her tutorial, the comments will only go up number up to 200, then start over at 1. If you would like them to go above 200,
go HERE for further code. You will basically replace the first section of code she gives you, with the code they give you.

If you have any questions let me know, since I'm an expert and all, now. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

{a sweet gift}

I made homemade hot fudge for our Family Night last night, and as we were devouring it, I thought to myself how perfect it would be to give as a gift.

So, I poured the leftover fudge into small canning jars (next time I'll use wide-mouthed, but this is what I had in my pantry), spray painted the lid cream, then added a darling label ("This year will be sweet, with you as my teacher!) and some ribbon.

This tag is for a first day of school gift, but it could easily be changed to an end of the year gift as well. And how yummy for holiday neighbor gifts?

Whether you give it as a gift, or make it for your family, this simple recipe is sure to please. In under 15 minutes, you can have delicious hot fudge sauce, using ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

Hot Fudge Sauce

6 T. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. cocoa
1 c. evaporated milk

Over low heat melt butter thoroughly. Add sugar and cocoa. Mix well, then gradually add milk. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from stove, then serve warm or cold.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

{flag blocks}

When I saw these blocks over at How Does She?, I knew they would be perfect for our Super Saturday (my church's annual craft day) this fall, and of course, for my family room. :) I put my own spin on them, opting for a painted, distressed look, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

They are so simple to make, totally inexpensive, easy to buy materials in bulk for them, and super cute! This project can easily be done in a large group, or on your own.

One of the best things about crafting, is that you can take an idea, and make it your own. With these blocks, that's what I did! I wanted to use paint, then really distress it, instead of using scrapbook paper, and I love how it turned out.

Flag Blocks

  • 2x4 lumber, cut into these pieces: 2-7 inch blocks, and 4-3.5 inch blocks
  • craft paint and foam brush (see paint colors below)
  • sandpaper
  • stain

1. A 2x4 will cost somewhere around $2 ($2.10 at my Home Depot). It will usually come in 8 foot lengths, so one piece of wood will make 3 block sets. That's 70 cents a piece! The store will cut it for you--just have your measurements ready.

2. Set out your blocks, so you know which of the two sides you want to paint.
This is how it will look:

I decided to use an extra 3.5 block to go right behind the star piece. This gave it more stability, helped the star piece sit a little more forward, and made it easier to tie on the ribbon.

3. Paint just the front skinny sides of the wood--one long cream, one long red, one short cream, and one short red. Out of the two remaining 3.5 blocks, you leave one bare, and paint the the bigger side of the second one navy blue. Once they've dried, sand it well--making sure to get the corners, and fading the paint so it looks really weathered. Wipe off the dust, then apply the stain-- I like Minwax Dark Walnut. (Paint cost: $1 each--I could have made at least 4 out of one bottle--so we're talking 25 cents each, x 3.)

I'm also very particular about the paint colors I use--especially red. For me, it can't be too burgundy, or too bright. My favorite it Tompte Red, by Delta (Ceramcoat). I used Navy Blue by FolkArt, and Vanilla, by JoAnn's.

4. For the star, I just traced one that I liked, enlarged it on my copier (it's about 3 inches from point to point), stenciled it onto cream cardstock, then cut it out. I distressed all the edges, and adhered it with double stick tape. You can leave it like this, or mod podge it on for extra security.

5. Stack up your blocks, then tie on your ribbon. I suggest using a wire ribbon--the bow will look great, and hold its shape. (Ribbon cost: This is your biggest variable. Using a 40% off coupon at Michael's or JoAnn's, my ribbon would be around $2.50, and I used about a third of it for one set, s0 around 80 cents each.)

You're done! From start to finish, you're talking 30 minutes! Total cost? A little over $2.25 per set. You really can't beat that!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

{a is for apple}

For the first day of school teacher gift, try this adorable "a is for apple" block. Not only will it cost you less than a dollar, it only takes about 10 minutes to make, plus drying time. It will look darling sitting on the teacher's desk!

  • 4x4 post, cut into square blocks
  • craft paint and foam brush
  • vinyl letter (you could also mod podge paper or paint it on)
  • ribbon

1. Cut your 4x4 post into as many perfect square blocks as you need. Keep in mind that when you buy lumber, the height dimensions will always be slightly less than what it says. So, when you're buying a 4x4 post, it's actually around 3.75 inches tall. This is important when you're cutting squares, because instead of automatically making cuts every 4 inches, you need to cut them a little smaller than that. Measure your post first, then you'll know where you'll need to cut (or have the store cut it for you). An 8 foot long post costs around $3.50, so you will get around 24 blocks out of it. That makes it just pennies per block! This is also a good project to do with friends, and split the cost of the wood. I always like to have some on hand though, so you might want to hang onto it!

2. Give your block a rough sand. Paint it as desired, then sand again to distress, and stain if desired.

3. I used a vinyl "a" I already had on hand, which will cost anywhere from 25-50 cents, depending on where you get it. I also think it would be so cute to cut the a out of scrapbook paper, and mod podge it on, or you could paint it on, too. All of these options are very inexpensive.

4. Once you've added your letter, you're ready for the ribbon! I like to use a wired ribbon, because of its fantastic ability to hold its shape. Your bows will thank you! The ribbon cost is the biggest variable, but if you shop around, and use coupons, you can get really good deals.

Super simple, and super cute! I'll add a cute tag, and they'll be ready for the first day of school.


Once I saw how cute these were, I thought how darling they would be as monogrammed blocks--perfect for gifts, or for your own home. So, I whipped one up that has our initial on it, and I love it.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


In our family, August is blueberry picking time! My husband taught my girls to call them "blue sugar", and after tasting the blueberries we picked this week, I would have to agree. SO delicious! We love to put them in waffles, pancakes, cobbler, and in a coffee cake topped with the most wonderful struesel, called Blueberry Buckle. But my favorite way to eat them? Straight out of the freezer!

Freezing Hint: If you'll put your berries in a freezer Ziploc bag, without rinsing them first, you can put them directly into the freezer, and they won't stick together. You don't have to lay them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer first, which will save a lot of time.


Blueberry Buckle

2 1/2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. butter. softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk

Streusel Topping:

1/4 C. white sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. butter

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture alternating with milk. Fold in blueberries. (Make sure they are washed, then completely dried. You don't want any extra moisture in your batter.) Pour into greased 9x9 baking dish. Combine sugars and flour for topping, then cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.



Monday, August 16, 2010

{flannel board & white board}

About seven years ago, I got together with a couple of friends and made a flannel board/white board. It was about 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet high, with a white board on one side, and flannel on the other. I had no idea how much we would love it and use it! Its portability significantly increases its versatility, and can be used anywhere in the home, or on the go. I've used it for so many things--family nights, church activities, for the kids in the playroom, games (makes a great Pictionary board!), to diagram a project in the workshop, and more.

Well, after that many years and that much use, it was in need of a makeover. So, I'm here to show you how to make one of your own, as I give mine a little face lift.

This is a super easy project, will take you less than 20 minutes to complete, and you can make it any size you want! Because you will have to buy the materials in much bigger amounts than you'll need, it really works best (and is much cheaper!) to make this with someone, or a group of people, and share the cost. So, gather your best girlfriends, church group, or family and have a flannel board party!

Flannel Board & White Board


  • shower board; you can buy it in sheets from either Home Depot or Lowe's (they should be able to cut it to size for you)
  • flannel
  • spray adhesive
  • white duct tape


1. Lay out your white board, then cut out a piece of flannel that is just a few inches bigger, all the way around. This will make it much easier to keep centered, while working with the adhesive spray. Iron your fabric, removing all the fold lines.

2. Turn your board over to the back side, and apply the adhesive spray, following the can directions. Gently lay your flannel over the board, then starting in the middle, smooth it down flat, removing all the wrinkles. If you end up with a line or two, gently lift up the edge of the flannel, smooth it out, and press down again. You should be able to do that a couple of times, if you work quickly.

3. Once it's completely smooth, turn it over so you're looking at the white board. Now you can trim all the overlapping edges of your flannel off of the board. Get as close as you can, but it doesn't have to be totally perfect, since the tape will cover some of it.

4. Now you're ready for the tape! Starting on the first side of the flannel board, apply the tape halfway down, so you can fold it over to the other side. Press down firmly, then flip the board over to the white board side, and starting in the middle, press the tape down on to that side. Go slowly and carefully, because once that duct tape is stuck, it will be almost impossible to fix, unless you want to remove it and start over. You will have a little tape hanging over the edges, and you can just trim that off. Rotate the board to the side right next to it (don't do the side across from it next, just go around in a circle), and repeat until finished with each side.

That's it!! Can you believe how simple that is? I told you!

Next up? I'm going to make smaller, lap-sized ones for each of my kids...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

[back in time}

Okay so, you know that to-do list I posted last week? Well, we tossed most of it aside and played instead, and I'm so glad we did! The summer won't be here much longer, but the projects always will.

So, we took off exploring for a few days, and headed to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum just outside Detroit. Greenfield Village has been around for almost 80 years, and is a little piece of early 1900's history. Henry Ford started collecting homes of significant historical importance (think the original site where the first airplane was invented--the Wright home), and they are an integral part of the village. I am passionate about history, and I really enjoyed exploring, and seeing how women lived at the turn of the century. I saw the types of store they shopped at, where they bought the fabric to make their clothes, how their fancy hats were created, and the kitchen they cooked in. I saw how they worked, how the played, and got just a little glimpse into who they might have been.

I am an old-fashioned girl, and though I'm glad I live now, with all the modern conveniences of our time, there is a part of me that would just love to have lived then. However, my appreciation for our current comforts was heightened after walking around for two days in 90 degree heat and 95% humidity, so I think I'll settle for being inspired by that time period, while being nice and cool. :)

So, on to the inspiration. Talk about fabulous vintage items--I was drooling the whole time I was there. Here are just a few examples:

Don't you just love this chair? From the color, to the style, to the weathered look--LOVE.

First of all, I love to look at this picture, based on the organization itself. Can you imagine yourself shopping here? Those ribbon boxes are darling.

I REALLY wanted to take home one of those cracker boxes.

Sorry about the grainy picture on this one--I had three kids hanging on my arm, and this was the best I could do. I am in LOVE with these stoneware mixing bowls--aren't they fabulous?

I'm also a front porch girl. I want one that wraps all the way around my house both sides. This home was calling my name.

The striped awning. The darling lamp post. The brick building and mustard-colored molding.

I really need to up my visits to thrift shops and garage sales. Maybe I'll get lucky.